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Friday, February 15, 2013

The Greeks of Beaubien Street by Suzanne Jenkins (Character Interview / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes back Suzanne Jenkins, author of The Greeks of Beaubien Street!

Character Interview

Name:Jill Zannos 
Book Title: The Greeks of Beaubien Street 
Profession:Homicide Detective 
Religious affiliation: Greek Orthodox and Psychic 
City and State:Detroit, Michigan

Thank you so for this interview, Jill. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I do think she portrayed me as truthfully as she was able. You may have gotten the idea that I’m not an easy personality. What hurt though, was the emphasis on me not having any friends. I have friends! The people I work with and my cousin Andy are friends. I just don’t have any female friends. The other female detectives don’t like me and I truthfully don’t know why.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

She made me seem a little cold. I really am very emotional; I just choose to keep private things private. I wish she would have emphasized my compassion, and also talked more about my spiritual life. I am very intuitive. It is important to me, and I cultivate it by praying and meditating. Also, I do yoga every day for an hour or more. She also made me seem sort of asexual. That’s really far from the truth. I’m just not a slut.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I can do my job in any circumstance. I got some bad news and was able to work and not be affected by it. It’s what makes me a good cop. I also am loyal. My partner at work will tell you that I would take a bullet for him or any of the other officers in a Detroit minute.

Worse trait?

I’m suspicious. It must be a vestige of the intuition. I get a notion and then have to investigate it. And I’m also trusting. Suspicion and trust are odd bedfellows.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Me? Oh, no way. I am no actor. My favorite have blond hair and speak with English accents. If hard pressed, I guess Mila Kunis. We sort of look alike, but she’s prettier and has a better figure.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Wow, that’s pretty personal. Ms. Jenkins told more of the story of Alex than I wanted her to, which really angered me. It was my business. And she made him look so innocent, too. Poor Alex. Everyone feels sorry for him. Ugh. I wouldn’t let her say much about Fred Cooper! I threatened her with a lawsuit if she did. I’ll allow more to be revealed in the sequel. The problem with Alex and me is that we look so darn good together. Whenever we’ve gone out together in public, we get a lot of attention. Even in high-school, we were voted “the most beautiful couple.”

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

I had a sick feeling when my dad told Andy and me about the night my brother was born. It wasn’t anything specific I could put my finger on; I just knew there was more to the story that he wasn’t sharing. Also, the last time Alex and I went to Bleu I just knew something was up. He was such a disarming character, that Alex. Ugh.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Definitely my Aunt Paula. She made herself look so frigging unattractive. I’m no beauty queen, but I avoid circumstances that put me in a terrible light and she seems to thrive on just the opposite.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I loved it! It seems a little unrealistic. The reader has no idea what’s in store. It’s probably a good thing, because I hear Ms. Jenkins has some angry fans! People want to hear the good stuff, not the bad. And she does have a way with the bleak. I like more hope! Happiness! Why expose all our warts? She hides nothing about our lives. Greek people are very proud and I am no exception.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if she decided to write another book with you in it?

I would ask her to let me have some privacy. For heaven sake! Does she need to expose every, single tidbit of embarrassing news? I also don’t care to hear any explicit details about my parent’s marriage. What child does, no matter the age? It’s disgusting.

Thank you for this interview, Jill. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Oh, I’m afraid so.

About The Author

Suzanne Jenkins is the author of the Pam of Babylon Series. The Greeks of Beaubien Street is the first book in a new series, The Greektown Trilogy, about a Greek homicide detective who grew up above the family grocery store in Greektown, Detroit. Jenkins has fond memories of growing up in a Greek American household in the suburbs of Detroit. She currently lives in the west Michigan lakeshore area with her husband, two dogs and two sheep.

Suzanne Jenkins ~ The Greeks of Beaubien Street ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Pump Up Your Book!

Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway

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Contest Dates: Jan 2 - March 29, 2013

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The Greeks of Beaubien Street - Book Trailer

Book Review

The Greeks of Beaubien Street by Suzanne Jenkins
Book 1: The Greektown Trilogy series
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Publication Date: November 7, 2012
Format: Paperback - 368 / Kindle - 358 KB
ISBN: 147931174X
Genre: Murder - Mystery - Suspense - Thriller

BUY THE BOOK: The Greeks of Beaubien Street

BUY THE SERIES: The Greektown Trilogy
*Book 2: The Princess of Greektown will be published in the Summer of 2013!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description:

Nestled below the skyline of Detroit you’ll find Greektown, a few short blocks of colorful bliss, warm people and Greek food. In spite of growing up immersed in the safety of her family and their rich culture, Jill Zannos doesn’t fit in. A Detroit homicide detective, she manages to keep one foot planted firmly in the traditions started by her grandparents, while the other navigates the most devastated neighborhoods in the city she can’t help but love. She is a no nonsense workaholic with no girlfriends, an odd boyfriend who refuses to grow up, and an uncanny intuition, inherited from her mystic grandmother, that acts as her secret weapon to crime solving success. Her story winds around tales of her family and their secret laden history, while she investigates the most despicable murder of her career.

The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a modern tale of a family grounded in old world, sometimes archaic, tradition, as they seek acceptance in American society. They could be any nationality, but they are Greek.

Warning: Contains a graphic depiction of rape and murder.

The Greeks of Beaubien Street is the first book in The Greektown Trilogy series of three books.

Book Excerpt:

Cousin Andy’s Story

The fragrant aroma of baking peppers drifted out onto Beaubien Street. People walking to their cars from the casino came inside to find out what it was and left with dinner in a take-out box. By four, Gus had just enough stuffed peppers left for Jill and his regulars. Next time he’d make half again as many. For tonight, Gus mixed up a batch of spaghetti and meatballs to get through till closing. They were Greek style using mint, oregano and garlic in the meat mixture, and then in the center of each one, a little ball of feta cheese.

His nephew Andy was in the back, grinding beef. After cleaning the grinder he would leave for home. He wanted to stop in Dearborn and see his parents before he went on to Novi. They loved it when he dropped in, his mother often crying out as she ran to him and patted his cheek. They would prepare coffee and serve pastries he brought with him from the bakery next to the grocery store. Although she was Syrian, his mother was more Greek than his aunts were. Unlike the rest of the family, she never missed Sunday service, was active in the Daughters of Penelope, and cooked Greek food for her husband seven days a week. Big Andy took her to Greektown every Saturday morning to see Gus and shop in his store. Once a month on Tuesday, they drove in again early in the morning to go to the Eastern Market to shop for food that couldn’t be purchased in the suburbs.

“We’re coming in tomorrow for the market. Want to go with?” Anna Zannos asked her son. “You should bring the kids with you. School will be starting soon and then we won’t see them until Christmas.” The unspoken, ‘Your wife hates us and doesn’t want her kids influenced by us.' 

“We’ll see, Mom. Dana may have something planned for them.” The unspoken, ‘Dana and I are the verge of divorce and making waves with her is the last thing I need to do right now.’

“Maybe next week? We can wait until next Tuesday to do our shopping, can’t we Papa?” The unspoken, ‘Your father is almost dead. He should see his grandchildren one last time.’

“Next week might be better, Mom,” Andy said. “But don’t change your shopping day for us.” The unspoken, ‘I would rather poke out my eyes than ask you to shop next week. Do you think I have a death wish?’

“Then you’ll shop with us tomorrow?” Anna asked. The unspoken, ‘This is what happens when you have just one child. Oh God, why are you punishing me?’

“Sure, I’ll shop with you tomorrow. I need to go for the store anyway.” The unspoken, ‘Why is God punishing me? Why didn’t they have more than one kid?’

Andy hugged his silent, long-suffering father and gave his mother a kiss goodbye. His parents were young, his father was just sixty-seven and still as virile as when he was a young man, and Anna was only sixty. She acted like they were ready to die. The truth was that Big Andy was itching to get on the golf-course before the sun went down; they belonged to the country club just across the street from their house. He would get in a good game before dinner. Anna gave Andy the rest of the baklava to take home; she didn’t need the calories and her husband was on a strict diet for diabetes.

Andy got in his car and headed toward home. Rush hour traffic was thick, but he didn’t mind. He was happy that his children were being raised in a nice town like Novi. The schools were excellent, it was conveniently located for his commute into Detroit, shopping was great. But his wife was miserable. She wanted to move out further west toward Lansing. Her mom and dad bought a big piece of property and built their dream house on it. They offered five acres to Andy and Dana to build. Dana let it be known whenever she could that it was selfish of her husband to insist on staying at that horrible grocery store in the ghetto rather than getting a real job in Lansing so they could move to Stockbridge. Add to that; Andy was sure she was seeing someone. She had all the signs. She’d lost weight, took time with her appearance when slopping around the house in a dirty sweatshirt was good enough for five years, and he could never reach her during the day anymore. They no longer made love or spent any private time with each other and the worst, they fought constantly. He learned to bite his tongue, not responding to her baits and her insults. It wasn’t worth hurting his little boys. So he did something that made him physically ill to think of; he hired a private investigator. And sure enough, she was having an affair with their son’s t-ball coach.

The PI met him in the city at a coffee shop on Jefferson. Andy could tell by the look in the man’s eyes that he found something awful.

“I don’t like to give bad news over the phone,” he said when they sat down. He reached down in his briefcase and pulled out a file. Fortunately, the pictures it held were all of a fully dressed Dana and her scruffy lover. The PI said it didn’t look like they ever went to a hotel; preferring to have sex in the guy’s back seat or in the public restrooms at the ball park. It made Andy sick. But he felt terrible about it not because he was jealous or hurt; he would be relieved if she left him. The difficult part about being happy was being married to someone who was not. And making her happy would be an act of sacrifice he knew he didn’t love her enough to make.

The grocery was his life. He knew exactly what his grandfather had in mind when he said he wanted to do something that he could leave to his family. He wanted to support his people. Andy thought of his father, a dynamic man who had loved living in the city as much as Gus did, yet he left without a glance back to satisfy his suburban born and raised wife. He didn’t love Dana that much anymore. And Dana hated the city in return. Anna on the other hand, often wished that they had lived in the city. She loved going in to shop, often manipulating her husband and his brother into allowing her to stay overnight. It was a dichotomy.

Soon, he would have to make a decision. Would he simply allow fate to dictate the course of his life? Or would he take the bull by the horns and move forward. He would ask his wife for a divorce. He might even tell her he knew she was being unfaithful and show her the proof. Use it as leverage. He only wanted her gone. He wanted to share custody of his kids. His job was in the city, not in Stockbridge. The children couldn’t be moved that far away from him unless he agreed and the courts concurred. He would allow her to move if and only if she let him have the boys every weekend, from Friday to Sunday night, every holiday and all summer long. Or vice versa. Allow them to go to school in the city and live at the grocery with him and Uncle Gus. There was a highly regarded private school not far away, so saying he would be subjecting them to the ghetto life couldn’t be substantiated.

By the time he pulled into his driveway, his plans were made. He would ask her tonight. As he gathered the box of pastries and other things he was bringing home for his family, he looked up and saw his mother-in-law standing in the window, pulling the curtains back looking for him. She had a tissue to her face and was sobbing while his children, crying too, were waiting for the only parent they had left.

My Book Review:

Just when I thought author Suzanne Jenkins couldn't top her awesome Pam of Babylon series, she comes back strong with a new gritty no-nonsense murder mystery suspense thriller of a series called The Greektown Trilogy that will curl her readers' toes! In the first book of the series, The Greeks of Beaubien Street, the author introduces her readers to Detroit homicide detective Jill Zannos and her beloved Greek family who live in the Detroit neighborhood of Greektown. The story alternates between a disturbing rape/murder investigation of a retired police officer's twenty-six year old daughter; and tales of the Zannos family's Greek traditions and secrets that abound in the Greektown neighborhood of Beaubien Street.

This riveting and graphic whodunit and glimpse into the Zannos family history is a gripping page turner that will captivate the reader's attention. Full of dramatic and suspenseful twists and turns, the reader will be kept guessing what will happen next in both the murder investigation and the Zannos family drama as the story unfolds. Written in the third person narrative, the author weaves a tale that allows the reader to get a glimpse into the minds of each of the intriguing cast of characters. There isn't enough words to describe the creepiness of some of the characters, believe me when I say that the author sure does know how to create a fascinating cast of characters, who leap off the pages with their intriguing dialogues and interactions. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the richly detailed description of the setting in this book. The author's personal familiarity of growing up in a Greek household in the suburbs of Detroit allows her to transport the readers to the Greektown neighborhood and Beaubien Street where the Zannos family resides. I loved her description of the tight knit Greek community and their cultural traditions. I could close my eyes and visualize the neighborhood sights and sounds, especially Jill's father Gus' grocery store, their family home, and the Detroit streets that Jill cruises in her line of duty.

The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a compelling first book in The Greektown Trilogy series. This multi-layered tale of a gritty murder investigation and intriguing Zannos family drama will captivate you from beginning, while leaving you with a cliff hanger of an ending and wanting more ... only to make you wait for the continuation of the story in the second book in the series, The Princess of Greektown, which will be published in the Summer of 2013. Kudos Suzanne, you got me hooked on another one of your series!



  1. I always love your character interviews! :)

    1. Hi Ashley, thank you for stopping by! I love character interviews too, they are so much fun to read. :)